GOWAY GIRL - Steven O’Dea has made the long trip to Townsville with this Master of Design filly and it isn’t just to catch some sunshine. She put in a solid effort at her first start at Ipswich over 1100m where she was slowly away, raced greenly and looked under pressure at the turn but got going late for fourth beaten two lengths. She should find this field of moderate maidens easier and blinkers well help as will 1200m on this bigger track. Boris Thornton rides and whilst she will get back in running can finish over the top of these.
GREY SAMBUCCA - Grey Sambucca had been struggling in Victoria but once he joined Les Smerdon’s stable went bang winning at both outings at this track over 1000m and 1200m. He was a late scratching at his most recent engagement for veterinary reasons and is now having his first outing in eleven weeks but usually races well fresh. Rhiannon Payne has won on him previously and from gate one over 1000m can dictate proceedings. In this field, Grey Sambucca should be hard to run down.
JACK LANCASTER - I tipped him at Rockhampton last outing and he ran his usual honest race but just got a bit far back in running after being tightened at the start. He is now third-up and with improving fitness should be ready for this 1300m trip over which he won at his only previous start here. Justin Stanley has ridden him once previously and from gate seven should have him handy with cover throughout. He is meeting some smart horses here in Platinum Tycoon and Pinyarda but is well weighted with 57kg and over his preferred journey might be too strong.
EQUISTAR - I am not sure whether Equistar knows how to win but I am prepared to give him one more chance in this moderate class one field. He has now had three starts for Georgie Bourke since Steven O’Dea lost patience with him but it has been much of the same with three placings. Boris Thornton has ridden him previously and gets another go replacing Nathan Day who probably due to no fault of his own hasn’t been able to get the job done. The drop back to 1400m may help and from gate four he should be on the speed throughout. Equistar should be at peak fitness now and if mentally right should be able to account for this class one field.
ALMA BUBBLES - Whilst the data is not relevant to maiden races, weight still looks the significant factor in the in the Northland Coach & Travel Maiden Handicap (1710m). The Steven O’Dea-trained Reckless Choice is the early favourite at $3 but looks to face a significant task jumping from an outside barrier lumping 59kg going from 1350m to 1710m for the first time. With a 3.5kg pull in the weights, the Chris Anderson-trained Alma Bubble is far more appealing from a punting perspective. Although a thee-year-old filly taking on the older horses, Alma Bubbles is ready to win after finishing in the placings at her latest three starts including a close third at Ipswich last start over 2150m with the weight pull over the favourite and proven at the distance the key factors.